Page images


spirits-for into its depths should that Yon orb, but now who swept the East, pathos sink, it will find there a repose With train of ruby and amethyst, it cannot disturb, or a trouble it can- Rides on, unweariedly as ever, not allay. The truths they tell have O'er frowning rock, and glitt'ring river ; been so long familiar there, that we Those trees, I own, are somewhat higher,seem to hear but our own voice again The ivy round the village spire giving utterance to thoughts that for

In fuller-clust'ring leaf has grown,

We cannot call that cot our own,many years have lain silent, but alive, in their cells-like slumberers awak

But what has changed in this sweet glen ened at midnight by solemn music,

As we from what our hearts were then ? lifting up their heads for a while to

Say you, the glow of hope is bright,

And if it be a meteor light, listen, and then laying them down to

That hurtles through the thick’ning sky, relapse into the same dreams that had

'Tis wise to catch it ere it die ? possessed their sleep. But ye

who are

Tell you me, 'tis a joy to feel still young—yet have begun to expe

Our toil increase a fellow's weal ? rience how sad it is and mournful ex

That, 'mid these fainting, fading, bowers, ceedingly to regret, perhaps to weep There linger still some am'ranth flowers, over, the passing away and the past, And honest will, and honest prayer, because that something was that never Will find them lurking every where ?-more may be-ponder ye on the strain, Say on, I can but add, Amen,and lay the moral, the religious lesson We are not now as we were then. it teaches within your hearts. So may the sadness sanctify—and the “ Oh, Brother! when I gaze upon Spirits that God sends to minister un

These tombs of little blisses gone,to us children of the dust, find you When, through the dense and steamy air, willing to be comforted, when Youth Which we with men are wont to share, has left you, heedless if to despair- A breeze of distant youth has stole for Angel though he seem,

he is not of In freshness on my fevered soul, heaven-but of heaven are they, and I feel like one who long has lain therefore immortal.

With madness gath'ring in his brain, Now receive into your hearts, 0

And, bursting from the strong distress,

Wakes to a terrible consciousness. Youths !-undivided by any commentary of ours—these three strains po- Blame you the agony on my brow?

Then blame you, that my pulse beat now, tent in the peace they breathe_and There was, when fear was all a stranger, verily, even in this noisy world the Ere knowledge showed the way to dangerpeaceful are the strong. The first, it When love was firm—when faith was sure, is true, speaks of change, decay, and And head and heart alike secure ;trouble—and the second is saddened But now, ...

. . Remember you a flower by the melancholy which imagination which we with care, from sun and often carries into the heart_but the shower,third is elevating and ennobling—and It was our mother's,-loved to guard, the three, thus read as one, leave the And how we joyed in our reward, spirit calm, and prepared to face the When first we watcht its bloom appear, future in the confidence of love and When it was old so many a year ; truth.

And how we heard, with tearful eye,
The good old gardener's prophecy,-
For he was deep in nature's lore,–

That that bright plant would bloom no " Six years, six cycles of dead hours,

more? Six falls of leaves, six births of flowers, The flowers fell off, - the stalk was gaIt is not that, you know full well,

thered, That makes my lab’ring bosom swell, The root grew dry,--the lank leaves wi'Tis not the memory of lost Time,

Since last I heard that matin chimé, And, sad to lose its only pride,
That brings to sense a sleeping sorrow, The poor Agave sunk and died :
To bid this long-left scene good-morrow- Our one, our only bloom is gone,
It is the curse to feel as men,

But, Brother, still we linger on.
And be not now, as we were then.
The snowy down on yonder hill

“ Between the cradle and the shroud, Through thousand

glistens If chance, amid the pilgrim crowd, still,

Though strange the time and strange the Yon stream will ne'er to time surrender place, Its rapid path of diamond splendour,- We light on some familiar face,



Once loved and known, as friend knows Little of care or thought are wanted friend,

To guard its beauty fresh and whole ; In whom a thousand memories blend, But when the one empassioned age Which whilom slumbered dull and dim, Has full revealed the magic bloom, But rise in light and cling to him ;

A wise and holy tutelage Though not a trait of old as wont,

Alone can shun the open tomb. Though care has knit the ample front, And vice unstrung the well-toned frame, “ It is not Absence you should dread, -Still something,—something is the same. For Absence is the very air But if we ever hope to find

In which, if sound at root, the head Some traces in that life-worn mind

Shall wave most wonderful and fair ; Of its pure self, its simple being,

With sympathies of joy and sorrow Such as it was, when, unforeseeing,

Fed, as with morn and even dews, We thought that Nature's laws would fail, Ideal colouring it may borrow Ere Sin could make its boldness quail ; Richer than ever earthly hues. Such as it was, ere sensuous things Had clipt the bird of Eden's wings, “ But oft the plant, whose leaves unsere Ere stified groan and secret sigh

Refresh the desert, hardly brooks Replaced the tear so soon brusht by,- The common-peopled atmosphere 'Tis vain,-alas, for human shame!

Of daily thoughts and words and looks; There nothing, nothing is the same. It trembles at the brushing wings

Of many a careless fashion-fly, O that the painter's fav'rite scheme And strange suspicions aim their stings Were not alone a painter's dream! To taint it as they wanton by, O that the Paradise he feigns, Where Innocence with Childhood reigns, « Rare is the heart to bear a flower, And cherub forms and infant guise

That must not wholly fall and fade, Inclose the heart divinely wise,

Where alien feelings, hour by hour, Were not alone a Poet's creed,

Spring up, beset, and overshade ;
No symbol,-but a truth indeed!

Better, a child of care and toil,
That all this circling life might close To glorify some needy spot,
Its wearied course where first it rose, Than in a glad redundant soil
And that our second life must be

To pine neglected and forgot.
A new, eternal, infancy,
Keeping the bliss we lose as men,

“ Yet when, at last, by human slight, To be for aye as we were then !"

Or close of their permitted day,
From the sweet world of life and light

Such fine creations lapse away,-

Bury the relics that retain

Sick odours of departed pride, “ When first the Friendship-flower is Hoard as ye will your memory's gain, planted

But let them perish where they died." Within the garden of your soul,


“ We read together, reading the same book,
Our heads bent forward in a half embrace,
So that each shade that either spirit took
Was straight reflected in the other's face;
We read, not silent, nor aloud, but each
Followed the eye that passed the page along,
With a low murmuring sound, that was not speech,

Yet with so much monotony,
In its half slumbering harmony,
You might not call it song ;

More like a bee, that in the noon rejoices,
Than any customed mood of human voices.

“ Then if some wayward or disputed sense
Made cease awhile that music, and brought on
A strife of gracious-worded difference,
Too light to hurt our souls' dear unison,

We had experience of a blissful state,
In which our powers of thought stood separate,
Each, in its own high freedom, set apart,
But both close folded in one loving heart;
So that we seemed, without conceit, to be
Both one and two in our identity.

“ We prayed together, praying the same prayer,
But each that prayed did seem to be alone,
And saw the other in a golden air
Poised far away, beneath a vacant throne,
Becko'ning the kneeler to arise and sit
Within the glory which encompast it :
And when obeyed, the Vision stood beside,
And led the way through the upper hyaline,
Smiling in beauty tenfold glorified,
Which, while on earth, had seemed enough divine,
The beauty of the Spirit-Bride,
Who guided the rapt Florentine.

“ The depth of human reason must become
As deep as is the holy human heart,
Ere aught in written phrases can impart
The might and meaning of that ecstasy
To those low souls, who hold the mystery
Of the unseen universe for dark and dumb.

“ But we were mortal still, and when again
We raised onr bended knees, I do not say.
That our descending spirits felt no pain
To meet the dimness of an earthly day;
Yet not as those disheartened, and the more
Debased, the higher that they rose before,
But, from the exaltation of that hour,
Out of God's choicest treasury, bringing down
New virtue to sustain all ill,-new power
To braid Life's thorns into a regal crown,
We past into the outer world, to prove
The strength miraculous of united Love,"

Strange that with all our love of though we look with delight on the nature, and of art, we never were a work when done by others—the picPainter. True that in boyhood we

ture without the process—the prowere no contemptible hand at a Lion duct of genius, without thought of its or a Tiger-and sketches by us of mortal instruments. We work in such cats springing or preparing to words, and words are, in good truth, spring in keelavine, dashed off some images, feelings, thoughts; and of fifty or sixty years ago, might well these the outer world as well as make Edwin Landseer stare. Even the inner is composed, let materialists yet we are a sort of Salvator Rosa at say what they will. Prose is poetrya savage scene, and our black - lead we have proved that to the satisfaction pencil heaps up confused shatterings of all mankind. Look ! we beseech of rocks, and flings a mountainous you-how the little Loch seems to rise region into convulsions, as if an earth- up with its tall heronry—a central isle quake heaved, in a way that is no canny, —and all its sylvan braes, till it lies making people shudder as if something almost on a level with the floor of our

gone wrong with this planet of Cave, from which in three minutes we ours, and creation were falling back could hobble on our crutch down the

But we love scenes of inclining greensward to the Bay of beautiful repose too profoundly ever Waterlilies, and in that canoe be afloat to dream of 5

transferring them to among the Swans. All birches-not

Such employment would any other kind of tree-except the be felt by us to be desecration, pines, on whose tops the large nests re


into chaos.



pose—and here and there a still bird "A man's best things are nearest him, standing as if asleep. What a place Lie close about his feet, for Roes!

It is the distant and the dim Why, we are absolutely writing an That we are sick to greet : article, and to fill a sheet how pleasant For flowers that grow our hands beneath to have recourse again to such a man

We struggle and aspire,as Milnes! Thus

Our hearts must die, except they breathe
The air of fresh Desire.



“ But, Brothers, who up Reason's bill " I know not that the men of old

Advance with hopeful cheer,Were better than men now,

0! loiter not, those heights are chill, Of heart more kind, of hand more bold,

As chill as they are clear ;
Of more ingenuous brow :

And still restrain your haughty gaze,
I heed not those who pine for force The loftier that ye go,
A ghost of Time to raise,

Remembe'ring distance leaves a haze
As if they thus could check the course

On all that lies below.” Of these appointed days.

Think not that we should have “ Still is it true, and over true,

wearied of our own company in this That I delight to close

Cave, had we been without a mateThis book of life self-wise and new,

rial book. In our mind is a library And let my thoughts repose

of other substance—and we are al. On all that humble happiness, The world has since foregone,

ways in a state of clairvoyance. We The daylight of contentedness

have been reading Milnes now with That on those faces shone !

the palm of our hand-but that is With rights, tho' not too closely scanned,

merely because the volume happens Enjoyed, as far as known,

to be on the table-we see through With will by no reverse unmanned, - Shakspeare, and Milton, and Spenser, With pulse of even tone,

and Wordsworth, in the niche yonThey from to-day and from to-night der—nor need they be there--for Expected nothing more,

with shut eyes we can read in to ourThan yesterday and yesternight

selves the Paradise Lost, and the ExHad proffered them before.

cursion, and the Fairy Queen, and the

Tempest, in editions out of print, and “ To them was life a simple art

that we never saw—what think you Of duties to be done,

of that, Dupotet? Doctors ElliotA game where each man took his part,

son and Lardner, pray hold your peace. A race where all must run ;

We tie our black silk neckerchief A battle whose great scheme and scope

round our eyes—till we are as blind They little cared to know,

as a mole, a bat, or as an impostorContent, as men at arms, to cope Each with his fronting foe.

turn you up“ Poems of many Years"

- correct us if we err in a single syl. “ Man now his Virtue's diadem

lable—and hearken to Christopher in Puts on and proudly wears,

his Cave—spiritually not animally Great thoughts, great feelings, came to magnetized - reading the “ Lay of them,

the Humble" — with his thumb! Like instincts, unawares : Blending their souls' sublimest needs With tasks of every day, They went about their gravest deeds, “ I have no comeliness of frame, As noble boys at play.-

No pleasant range of feature ;

I'am feeble, as when first I came “ And what if Nature's fearful wound To earth, a weeping creature; They did not probe and bare,

My voice is low whene'er I speak, For that their spirits never swooned And singing faint my song ; To watch the misery there,

But though thus cast among the weak, For that their love but flowed more I envy not the strong.

fast, Their charities more free,

“ The trivial part in life I play Not conscious what mera drops they can have so light a bearing

On other men, who, night or day, Into the evil sea.

For me are never caring;



[ocr errors]

That, though I find not much to bless, Enjoy the breeze,—I rock with them,
Nor food for exaltation,

We' are merry brothers all.
I know that I am tempted less,-
And that is consolation.

“ I do remember well, when first

I saw the great blue sea,“ The beautiful! the noble blood !

It was no stranger-face, that burst I shrink as they pass by,

In terror upon me ; Such power for evil or for good

My heart began, from the first glance, Is flashing from each eye ;

His solemn pulse to follow,
They are indeed the stewards of Heaven, I danced with every billow's dance,
High-headed and strong-handed :

And shouted to their hollo.
From those, to whom so much is given,
How much may be demanded !

“ The Lamb that at it's mother's side

Reclines, a tremulous thing, “ 'Tis true, I am hard buffeted,

The Robin in cold winter-tide, Though few can be my foes,

The Linnet in the Spring, Harsh words fall heavy on my head,

All seem to be of kin to me,
And unresisted blows;

And love my slender hand,
But then I think, “had I been born,- For we are bound, by God's decree,
Hot spirit-sturdy frame-

In one defensive band,
And passion prompt to follow scorn,
I might have done the same.'

“ And children, who the worldly mind

And ways have not put on, “ To me men are for what they are, Are ever glad in me to find They wear no masks with me;

A blithe companion : I never sicken'd at the jar

And when for play they leave their homes, Of ill-tuned flattery;

Left to their own sweet glee, I never mourned affections lent

They hear my step, and cry, 'He comes, In folly or in blindness ;

Our little friend,-'tis he.'
The kindness that on me is spent
Is pure, unasking, kindness.

“ Have you been out some starry night,

And found it joy to bend “ And most of all, I never felt

Your eyes to one particular light, The agonizing sense

Till it became a friend ? Of seeing love from passion melt

And then, so loved that gliste'ning spot, Into indifference;

That, whether it were far
The fearful shame, that day by day Or more or less, it mattered not,-
Burns onward, still to burn,

It still was your own star.
To' have thrown your precious heart away,
And met this black return.

“ Thus, and thus only, can you know,

How I, even scorned I, I almost fancy that the more

Can live in love, tho' set so low, I am cast out from men,

And' my ladie-love so high ; Nature has made me of her store

Thus learn, that on this varied ball, A worthier denizen ;

Whate'er can breathe and move, As if it pleased her to caress

The meanest, lornest, thing of all-
A plant grown up so wild,

Still owns its right to love.
As if the being parentless
Made me the more her child.

“ With no fair round of household cares

Will my lone hearth be blest, “ Athwart my face when blushes pass Nor can the snow of my old hairs To be so poor and weak,

Fall on a loving breast ; I fall unto the dewy grass,

No darling pledge of spousal faith And cool my fevered cheek;

Shall I be found possessing, And hear a music strangely made,

To whom a blessing with my breath
have never heard,

Would be a double blessing :
A sprite in every rustling blade,
That sings like any bird.

But yet my love with sweets is rife,

With happiness it teems, “My dreams are dreams of pleasantness, - It beautifies my waking life, But yet I always run,

And waits upon my dreams ; As to a father's morning kiss,

A shape that floats upon the night,
When rises the round sun;

Like foam upon the sea,
I see the flowers on stalk and stem, A voice of Seraphim,-a light
Light shrubs, and poplars tall,

Of present Deity!


« PreviousContinue »